On Thursday afternoon, World of Warcraft’s Jeremy Feasel spent time in a live stream to take a “deep dive” into the upcoming 8.2 Rise of Azshara content. The RoA patch will arrive on the WoW PTR next week, but not being present yet, the event was exciting to fans as it’s the first real glimpse of 8.2 so far. Most are hoping it will bring interesting new features and content to the game. We sat through the stream to provide you with all the information Feasel was willing to show.
Sit back, relax and see what’s coming in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth v8.2 - Rise of Azshara.
When Rise of Azshara launches, it’s going to give players a bit of a break from the ongoing “red vs blue” faction war when both sides face off against a common enemy. Sure, it won’t be all kumbaya, hugs, and kisses, but each side will find itself needing to take on something besides the folks in the other color for a while. For most, this will be a welcome break.
The story begins when some of Sylvanas’s most powerful Horde allies are sent to sea in some of the Horde’s remaining ships. The Alliance gets wind of the move and comes after them in force. What neither side expects is what happens next: Azshara splits the sea and all of the ships fall into pieces on the sea floor.
According to Feasel, most of the troops are dead or dying after the catastrophic fall to the seabed and those who have survived find themselves in the watery ruins of Zin-ashari, once the crown jewel of Night Elven culture before the Sundering and now home to the former ruler, Queen Azshara, and her Highborne followers, now known as the Naga.
Interestingly, Blizzard is trying something new this time and will not be time gating the content and story in Rise of Azshara. Rather than have the story spin out over months with tiny questlines released on a weekly, or bi-weekly, basis, it will all be there from the start with players able to fully explore Nazjatar and Mechagon island right away.
Combat Ally System
Both Horde and Alliance will need to find a way to defeat Azshara and her Naga allies with the fight culminating in an assault on the Eternal Palace itself. But with troops dead or dying, finding a way to do so will involve convincing local inhabitants to help. This is where combat allies come in. Combat Allies help each side build up forces in Nazjatar. As players work to gain the trust and assistance of a variety of denizens of the area, three combat allies will tag along to help. Unlike in Warlords of Draenor, these new BfA companions will level up playing content and, as they do, they will gain new abilities and will even unlock cosmetic abilities. Each of the three has 30 levels to progress through.
World / Daily Questing
World / Daily Quests are heavily themed around Azshara, Naga, and the overall Nazjatar location. Naga Champions will spawn randomly throughout the zone, but rather than coming out alone, they take over an area and bring base defenses with them. There will be new questlines will unlock different world quests as Feasel said that the team wanted to “shake up” the way that world quests manifest themselves to “keep things fresh”.
As players work within Nazjatar, they will build up their faction’s hub and bring in the forces needed to take the fight to Azshara. Along the way, they will dig down deep into the defenses and weaponry of the Naga to look for strategic advantages.
Azshara’s Eternal Palace
The raid for this tier of content is the 8 boss raid, Azshara’s Eternal Palace. It includes one purely underwater boss too! Feasel said that it delivers a sense of delving into the deepest and scariest aspects of the location culminating in a final battle with the Queen herself that “could have ramifications for the entire planet of Azeroth”.
In an interesting twist, rather than release the raid weeks after the launch of 8.2, Blizzard will open it up a week later. Traditionally, Blizzard has held off opening each raid tier for several weeks to allow raiders to obtain higher ilevel gear that accompanies a new patch, but this time, that’s not the case. It will be interesting to see how it affects the world first race, if at all.
Lastly, Feasel said that once Azshara’s Eternal Palace is completed, we will know without a doubt who the final boss of the entire expansion will be. Will it be the Old God N’Zoth or someone else?
Players are going to learn of a small town called Rustbolt packed with junker gnomes that are fighting King Mechagon who is locked away in his palace grounds building a doomsday device. He has at his disposal heavily mechanized gnomes that want to turn everyone into bots. Players will help rebuild their city and help rebuild a part of the island. The island is all about building and tinkering and using scavenged resources to construct defenses and weapons against King Mechagon.
These Rustbolt town defenses come in the form of Pascal, a robot that players will find parts for in order to build him up to make him stronger. As he “levels up”, he will offer new schematics for defensive construction “and more”.
Players will visit every day and find a special daily quest and a number of activities to complete. Doing these every day is a way to build reputation and gain epic rewards. Players will also find a Timeless Isle-like rare spawn system and the drop tables contain “awesome things”.
Operation Mechagon is an 8 boss dungeon similar in scope to Return to Karazhan that ultimately culminates in a fight against King Mechagon. It includes traveling up through the trash compactor to get to the palace area. It’s not going to be a picnic to get there either. The city is weaponized against the player. But, as with all dungeons, players will find new loot and drops and all kinds of crazy mechagnome activities. Players can get a trinket there that can be upgraded and customized.
Mount Equipment Slots
All mounts will receive the benefit of a new system featuring mount equipment slots. Players will place an item on their character (similar to slotting a gem in a piece of gear) that will allow every mount in a player’s collection to function in new ways including no-daze, water walking or lower fall damage.
The change came about as a result of too many players using the Water Strider mount to travel throughout BfA and before. It allowed players to be able to travel across water, but, according to Feasel, “not everyone wants to ride a bug all the time”. Hence the new system. Weirdly, developers have decided to strip the Water Strider -- whose name literally means walking on water -- of its ability to, you guessed it, walk on water. If players want to use it as a water walking mount, they will have to use the equipment slot that allows that….unless you are a Death Knight like me...or a Shaman (kinda). You can check out what people think of that little snippet of news here.
Other new features coming in 8.2
- New Heart of Azeroth mechanics (see our article from yesterday)
- Tauren and Gnome Heritage Armor quests
- New Islands - Crestfall, Snowblossom Village
- New PvP arena called the Robodrome Arena
- Ashran makes a return as an Epic Battleground
- Heroic Battle for Stromgarde
- Season 3 PvP
- New missions/mechanics
- Revamped Brewfest
- War Mode new content
- New mounts and pets including the Giant Wheel and Snapdragon and the mechanical gnomebot pet with interchangeable heads
- Flying unlocked throughout BfA content including Mechagon and Nazjatar
Check Out the Replay for Yourself
TL;DR & Final Thoughts
From our perspective, Rise of Azshara has a lot of interesting new things in it. The caveat, however, is that it seems to be piling all kinds of new on top of BfA systems that have been pretty roundly castigated by the player community and it doesn’t fix the core issues the game has right now. It will remain to be seen how successful Blizzard is with adding a ton of new mechanics and features to the game when BfA has already stumbled on so many fronts (i.e. War Mode, Warfronts, Island Expeditions, Azerite Traits, etc.).
Has anything coming in 8.2 caught your eye? What interests you the most? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.